MANILA, Philippines—Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo was finally laid to rest on Friday afternoon in the family mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery.
The interment on Friday at the Tuason-Arroyo mausoleum at the corner of Main Avenue and 29th Street of the Manila North Cemetery saw the two women in Arroyo’s life: estranged wife Aleli Arroyo and his longtime partner Grace Ibuna, observing the solemn rites several seats apart.
Both women were seated on the front row, where the white folding chairs were arranged so that they were separated by an aisle. Aleli sat two seats away from Iggy’s brother, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.
While Aleli grieved quietly, a very emotional Ibuna openly wept and even hugged and kissed Iggy in his open coffin as she lovingly cradled his head when it was time for family members to say goodbye.
As the Philippine flag was taken from the coffin, with everyone standing for the honors, the folded flag was handed over to Aleli who in turn passed it on to her daughter Bianca. The flag was already with Bianca when Ibuna approached her to hold the cloth.
As the last shot was fired from the traditional gun salute, Ibuna fell back to her seat her knees seemingly giving in under her.
At around 1:40 p.m., the late Negros Occidental 5th district representative’s remains were placed inside the grave across his mother Ma. Lourdes Arroyo’s burial site and beside one of his ancestors Pilar Tuason.
A staff of the Arroyos told the Inquirer that the original plan was to bury Iggy beside his mother but for some reason they were told to inter the body on the grave across hers instead.
Butterflies were freed after the interment as a symbol of freedom and the beginning of a new journey.